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Sesquicentennial, Carmi, Illinois, 









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Published by the Carmi Sesquicentennial Commission, Inc. 

J. Robert Smith, President 
C. F. Rebstock, Vice President 
Mrs. Allen Ball, Secretary 
William F. Sharp, Treasurer 

Mrs. Douglas J. Ames, Sr. 
Mayor Laurence Boehringer 
Mrs. R. C. Brown 
James Robert Endicott 

Sam B. Hart 

Sam A. Hassan 

Mrs. Ray A. McCalhster 

Mrs. Edwin Stocke 

Mrs. Fred J. Reinwald, Chairman 
Mrs. Robert Ready Williams. 

Publication Committee 
Mrs. Henry Lichtman 
Mrs. Hazel K. Munsey 

Mrs. Henry J. Karch 
Miss E. Wave Jamerson 

Business and Professional Women's Club 

This souvenir booklet of Canni's 150th birthday was made possible by many enthusi- 
astic people — those who graciously loaned old pictures, women who collected the photos, the 
staff of the Carmi Times, the sponsors, members of the Business and Professional 
Women's Club, who enlisted the support of the sponsors, and the author, J. Robert Smith. 

iu/miiAe^ dow^H' i^ne decadei , . . 

HOULD YOU ASK ME, whence these stories; whence 
these legends and traditions — of the pioneer in buckskin; 

with the hitching racks and ox teams; of the cobblestones and candles, 
and the grinding o± the com mill — ^where the Little Wabash wanders in and 
out of old White County? 

I should answer, I should tell you : from the eager lips long silent ; 
from the hist'ry of the county, from the vaults where ledgers moulder; 
from the files of crumbling papers. 

Here we read and pored and pondered; read some more and then 
recorded. We repeat them as we found them, all these stories and tradi- 

Now we cherish, save and guard them. 

Your Sesquicentennial book is not a history. 

Although it starts before the beginning of Carmi, no attempt was 
made to write a complete chronological story about people and events of the 
past 150 years. 

We present here a few glances backward down the decades ; attempting 
to preserve in words and pictures the ways of life of dear hearts and gentle 
people — our ancestors. 



n^JLtne eJ 

III. H'2r, 




AM 150 years old, and you are 

Oh, how the years have sped by ! 

I was bom in a wilderness, beside a 
meandering stream. Attending my birth 
were pioneers in buckskin, linsey-woolsey 
and calico. They walked and rode horse- 
back from Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsyl- 
vania and Virginia. 

I was born in Lowry Hay's log cabin 
near the Little Wabash River. It was 
February 8, 1816 — a cold, raw day. The 
winter wind moaned through cracks in the 
cabin. Close by, the grist mill's water 
wheel creaked as it turned. 

My christening came on a bright April 
day. On the sixteenth people met at the 
log house of John Craw. Dr. Josiah Stew- 
art was there. With him were Daniel and 
Lowry Hay. Leonard White arrived. The 
county had been named for him. Now it 
was time to name the town — me! 

I am told that many names were sug- 
gested. Just who opened the Bible I do not 
know. Perhaps it was the Rev. John C. 
Slocumb, a Methodist minister. Genesis 
46:9 .. . Exodus 6:14 . . . Numbers 26:6 
. . . Joshua 7:1, 18 . . . First Chronicles 2:7, 
4:1, 5:3. In all those passages one finds 
the name of the son of Reuben, the grand- 
son of Jacob, the nephew of Joseph. 

And so, a log cabin settlement in the 
forest was named Carmi. 

Who am I ? For what do I stand ? 

I am more than 6,000 people, and the 
spirit of thousands of others who lived, 
labored, loved and died here the past 150 
years. My sons and daughters remember 
me with affection as they have gone out 
to the far places of the world. Many return 
to visit or retire. 

I am a log village on a muddy, rutted 
road, and a modem city with wide, paved 
streets. My way has been lighted dowTi the 
decades by pine knots, candles, kerosene, 
gas and electricity. 

I can still hear the whirring wheel 
spinning flax and wool ; the clicking loom 
weaving linsey-woolsey; creaking wagons 
drawn by oxen; hoof beats of circuit 
riders' horses ; the lonely howl of the tim- 
ber wolf ; the coachman's horn as the stage 
approaches ; the whistle of steamboats on 
the Little Wabash. 

I can still smell venison roasting on 
the spit; corn bread baking on the coals; 
hickoiy burning in the fireplace. 

My first settlers told me about the 
violent earthquakes of 1811 and 1812; how 
the ground shook and rocked and then 
rolled like waves of the sea. They told me 
about the "harraken" of 1815 — a cyclone 
that mowed down the forest in a path a 
mile wide. 

I remember November 12, 1833, "the 
night the stars fell," when the wife of 
Chief Justice William E. Wilson went out- 
side to gaze in wonder ; to wash her hands 
and face with stars, as though they had 
been snow flakes, then bathed her baby's 
face with Stardust. 

I am the Little Wabash River and 
Shipley Hill; 'Possum Road and the old 
Shavraeetown Trail ; the tan yard and dis- 
tillery and pioneer ferry. 

I am Joseph Pomeroy and Benjamin 
R. Smith; Doctors Josiah Stewart and 
Thomas Shannon, Daniel P. Berry and 
William Brimble-Combe, Frank Sibley and 
R. C. Brown; Lieutenant Governor Wil- 
liam H. Davidson and Attorney General 
Ivan A. Elliott. 

I am Willis Hargrave, who rode horse- 
back from Equality to find my birthplace, 
and Chamber of Commerce President 
Albert W. McCallister, who flies to distant 
cities to look after my interests. 

I remember the men enlisting for the 
Black Hawk and Mexican wars ; the excite- 
ment and sadness of the Civil War; the 
Spanish war volunteers of 1898 ; the troop 
trains of 1917; the casualty lists of the 
1940's and 1950's. And now, Vietnam! 

I am Ratcliff Inn and the Damron 
House; the Robinson home and the Old 
Graveyard; the Reinwald and Ziegler 
stave factory and the Staley mill; the 
Ainsbrooke Corporation and Sterling 
Aluminum; the Innovation and Burrell's 

You can look at me and see State Sen- 
ator Edwin B. Webb crossing the dusty 
street to board a stagecoach for Spring- 
field; U. S. Senator John M. Robinson 
riding in the fancy brougham he bought in 

I am the Home Culture Circle start- 
ing a library in 1898; the Thursday and 
Friday clubs of years gone by ; the D.A.R. 
and its Memorial Circle in the Old Ceme- 

I am Colonel John M. Whiting and 
General Frederick J. Karch ; Congressmen 
John M. Crebs, James R. Williams, 
Orlando Burrell and Roy Clippinger; 
Ephraim Joy and Charles Berry; Dr. 
Elam Stewart, my first mayor, and Laur- 
ence Boehringer, the present mayor; 
Nathaniel Holderby and Roy E. Pearce. 

I am Colonel Everton Conger captur- 
ing John Wilkes Booth and C. F.(Bud) 
Rebstock bringing a new industry to town ; 

William Stewart, long at rest in the Old 
Graveyard, and Herbert G. Bayley, devo- 
ting years to civic work. 

I am Benjamin St. John and John G. 
Powell, Adam Miller and North Storms, 
Doctors J. I. Spicknall and Ray McCallis- 
ter, A. S. Rudolph and Edwin Stocke. I am 
Frank J. Foster and Allen Ball. 

I can still hear Abraham Lincoln 
speaking in Stewart's Grove in 1840; the 
eloquence of William Jennings Bryan 
down by the depot in 1896; the Missouri 
twang of Harry Truman beside the court- 
house in 1948; the clipped sentences of 
Dwight Eisenhower at the back of the 
campaign train in 1948. 

I remember the covered bridge of 
1840 ; the flood of 1913 ; the tornado's roar 
in 1925. 

I am the Historical Society saving Rat- 
cliff Inn ; the Kiwanis Club on Corn Day ; 
the Rotary Club at its annual barbecue; 
the Lions Club at its hamburger stand at 
the White County Fair. 

Yes, I am 150 years old — but I am 


The past has been gracious and good, 
but my eyes are on the future. I cherish 
the past but look forward eagerly to my 
next 150 years. 

What will I be in the year 2116? 

Look in the mirror. 

There is your answer. 

?<^^£e tne veQMvnt/nO' 

ONG BEFORE there was a 
Carmi, Indians lived here. 

Through their village ran a trail to a 
ford in the river. Eastward it went 
through tall prairie grass to the Ouabache 
River. Westward it plunged into the deep, 
dark forest; forked southward to La 
Belle Riviere and west to the Mississippi. 

Braves loafed in the sunshine. Squaws 
skinned deer, tended fires, carried water 
from the stream, worked in corn rows, 
picked pumpkins and squash. Children 
played with dogs and splashed in the 

Shawnees, Piankeshaws and Potawa- 
tomis prowled prairie and forest, as free 
as foxes and deer. They left the land un- 
changed. The river ran crystal clear, swift 
and deep. The forest remained uncut, un- 

Giant oaks, maples, walnuts, chest- 
nuts, sycamores and sweet gums reared 
skyward. They were so dense they shut 
out the light ; left the forest floor in green 
shadow. Grape vines as big as a man's 
thigh snaked high into the trees. 

This place was wildly beautiful. Whip- 
poorwills called. Beavers built dams. 
Wolves howled. Passenger pigeons flew in 
flocks of millions. There were deer and 
bears in abundance. 

East of the river, prairie grasses rip- 
pled as the waves of the sea. In spring- 
time the prairies glowed with scarlet lilies, 
yellow cowslips, sweet William and violets. 
When the bluestem and Indian grasses 
grew in the summer sun they were high 
enough to hide a man on horseback. 

From the Ouabache River the prairie 
sea rolled westward to the Petite Oua- 
bache, then stopped — right here! 

West of the river was the forest sea — 
a mighty green ocean of trees, billowing 
and rolling in the ridges, hills and knobs 
of southern Illinois. 

To the Indians, this land was beauti- 
ful, bountiful and old . . . old. 

To the pioneers pushing westward, it 
was wild, bleak and — new ! 

^ne 6ea4/n/nin^ 

mST CAME the trappers and 
hunters, seeking fur and game. 

And then the land-lookers, wanting to 
settle. Daniel Bain, a Revolutionary War 
soldier from Virginia, pushed into this 
area in 1806. He sired 18 children; was 
step-father of six more. 

Others built on the Big Prairie — 
Peter Kuykendall in 1808; Robert Land, 
Thomas Miller, Henry Jones, James Gar- 
rison, Thomas Gray and the Rev. Daniel 
McHenry in 1809. 

Isaac Veach arrived that year. He 
turned his back on the prairie ; crossed the 
Little Wabash ; built his cabin on the bluff 
overlooking the river. It stood just south 
of what is now Carmi's Main Street bridge. 

People kept arriving at Big Prairie. 
In 1810, John Hanna, Captain William Mc- 
Henry, Benjamin Mobley, Daniel Boulting- 

Perhaps they laughed at Isaac Veach. 
Why didn't he choose rich, level land? 
Why build a home at the edge of the for- 

Most land-lookers wanted not only 
good soil but running water. They sought 
locations beside a river or creek. That is 
where towns were started. 

The year 1811 was one of trouble and 
terror. Indians were killing and scalping. 
Tecumseh was trying to unite all tribes for 
war. "This is our land," he told General 
William Henry Harrison at Vincennes. 

Potawatomis started scalping in Illi- 
nois. Gen. Harrison planned an invasion 
of Indian territory. People on the prairie 
hurried to build blockhouses for protec- 
tion. Frightened families fled to these 
forts built by Robert Land, John Hanna, 
Capt. William McHenry, Hardy Council, 
Aaron Williams and John Slocumb. 

Going to their com patches, men car- 
ried guns; leaned them against stumps. 
They armed themselves before shepherd- 
ing their families to worship services in 
log cabin homes. 

The attacks did come. In one raid on 
a cabin near here Indians killed two men 
and wounded four. 

A flaming comet swept the skies that 
summer. Worried settlers gazed in awe 
and consternation. 


Then came that terrifying December 

It was 2 a.m. Monday. Settlers slept. 

Suddenly, the earth shook. Cabins 
shuddered. Logs creaked. Cradles rocked. 
Chimneys cracked. Bells rang. Clocks stop- 
ped. Dishes crashed. 

Cattle bawled. Dogs howled. Horses 

People fled from their cabins; hud- 
dled in the cold. Parents prayed. Children 

The ground rolled in waves. Trees 
blew up, cracked, split, fell by the thous- 
ands. When earth waves hit the tall tim- 
ber, forest giants weaved their tops togeth- 
er, interlocked their branches, sprang back 
and cracked like whip lashes. 

The earth rumbled, roared, split open, 
raised in some places, sank in others. On 
the prairie, snow-white sand shot up like 

Along the Wabash and Little Wabash 
Rivers banks caved in. Trees toppled into 
the water. Mrs. Edward McCallister hur- 
ried her children into a dugout canoe, 
pushed it into the Wabash River. Violent 
waves forced her to struggle back to the 
heaving land. 

The earth shook all night and the fol- 
lowing day. Tremors continued for three 
months, with massive shocks January 23 
and February 7. 

The praying pioneers didn't know it, 
but they had experienced the heaviest 
earthquake ever to shake the American 
continent. It shook 1,000,000 square miles ; 
rang church bells in Boston ; toppled chim- 
neys in Charleston, S. C. ; frightened peo- 
ple in New Orleans, Washington, D. C, 
Louisville and Cincinnati. 


While the earth still trembled Indians 
harried the countryside. The War of 1812 
broke out. A company of mounted U. S. 
Rangers rode into the area ; built a block- 
house ; guarded the settlers for two years. 

Men named Williams and Weed 
arrived here in 1812. They looked at 
Veach's cabin on the river bluff and liked 
the location. They felled trees, burned 
brush, built a log dam and ci-ude water 
mill, opened a trading post, started a tan- 
nery, added a distillery. 

Until then the closest mill was at New 
Haven. Now, from miles around people 
came to the new mill on the Little Wabash. 
They brought their com by canoe, on 
horseback and on foot. 

The late W. D. Hay talked with a 
Wayne County man whose people traveled 
to the Williams and Weed mill seven years 
before there was a Wayne County. 

A certain settler, tired of pounding his 
com into meal by hand in an Indian mor- 
tar, walked more than 30 miles to the mill, 
carrying a bushel of corn strapped on his 

It took three days to make the round 
trip. He spent two nights alone in the 
woods ; killed and cooked food when hun- 
gry, arrived home tired but happy. 

Beside the mill, the tannery was turn- 
ing out leather. The distillery was pro- 
ducing whisky. The trading post was ex- 
changing powder, lead, liquor, coffee and 
calico for corn, coonskins, venison hams, 
deerskins, ginseng and hogs. 

News of this activity reached New 
Haven, Shawneetown and Equality. 
"Hmm-m-m," said folks down there, "is a 
new settlement about to start in our 


Leaders of men were living at Equal- 
ity, Shawneetown and the U. S. Saline in 
those days. Fortunes were being made and 
lost at the salt works. Waves of migration 
rolled westward, swept through the Wil- 
derness Road and down the Ohio River in 

Shawneetown was the principal port 
of entry into the vast Illinois Territory. 
Among the impoverished pioneers were 
men of substance and education. They 
became the natural leaders. 

There was Captain Leonard White, 
U. S. agent at the Saline ; former postmas- 
ter there ; erstwhile judge of the court of 
common pleas. 

James Ratcliff, a Virginia gentleman, 
succeeded White as postmaster. 

Ratcliffs father-in-law was Colonel 
Willis Hargrave. Governor Ninian Ed- 
wards appointed him commander of the 
4th Regiment militia. His property 
included numerous slaves. 

In the frontier excitement of Shaw- 
neetown, Equality and the U. S. Saline one 
could find Joseph Pomroy, John Craw, 
Lowry Hay and his nephew, John; Har- 
grave's sons, George and Samuel ; his sons- 
in-law, Ratcliff, Benjamin White and 
James A. Richardson. 

There was talk at Kaskaskia that the 
Territorial Assembly was going to divide 
Gallatin County. Well! That would mean 
a new county seat. 

Big plans were soon afoot. Leonard 
White and Lowry Hay got their heads 
together. They formed some sort of part- 
nership. Hay and his nephew, John, took 
over the Williams and Weed mill, tannery 
and distillery. 

White built a log storehouse near 
Hay's mill. George Hargrave started a 
store there. 

John Craw built a two-room log house 
back in the woods. (This is now the en- 
larged, beautified home of Miss Mary Jane 

On October 16, 1814, John Hay en- 
tered the northeast quarter of Section 13. 
Through it ran the Little Wabash River. 
On it stood the mill, tannery, distillery; 
the log homes of Craw and Veach; the 
White-Hargrave store. (The greater part 
of Carmi now occupies Section 13.) 


It was soon learned that Lowry Hay 
and Leonard White were the joint proprie- 
tors of the proposed town site. On Nov. 
29, 1815, Willis Hargrave bought 40 acres 
in Section 13 and 40 in Section 14. 

More and more people were coming to 
trade and have their com ground. The 
place had no name. Settlers said they were 
going to Hay's Mill or to Hargrave's store. 

And then it happened. On December 9, 
1815, White County was created. Governor 
Edwards appointed the officials for the 
new county: 

Judges of the County Commissioners 
Court, Willis Hargrave, Joseph Pomroy 
and the Rev. John C. Slocumb; 

County clerk and recorder, James Rat- 

Commissioners to fix the seat of ju! 
tice. Margrave's sons-in-law, Ratcliff an 1 
Benjamin White ; Stephen E. Hogg an I 
Samuel Hays; 

Colonel of the 5th Regiment count, 
militia, Willis Hargrave; 

Surveyor, Lowry Hay; sheriff, Ben- 
jamin R. Smith; justices of the peace. 
Lowry Hay, William Nash, the Rev. Dan- 
iel McHenry, Stephen Standly, Thomas 
Rutledge, Edmond Covington, Moses 
Thompson and Thomas Randolph. 

It was all set. Hay, White and Har- 
grave owned 220 acres. The grist mill was 
busy. Cabins were going up. Why, the 
place would soon rival New Haven as a 
trading center! 

About this time Daniel Hay was on 
the move again. The 34-year-old Virginian 
was dissatisfied with life in Butler County, 

He had a growing family; told his 
wife, Priscilla, he longed to go to the Illi- 
nois country, perhaps as far north as the 
Sangamon River. 

In the winter of 1815-1816, Hay sad- 
dled his horse, bid his family farewell and 
rode northward. He would explore the new 
land, decide on a location, then return for 
his family. 

He crossed the river at Shawneetown ; 
rode on to Equality. In the French settle- 
ment he paused to listen to men talking 
about a new county being organized. It 
was named for Leonard White. And there 
was Captain White! 

Yes, he said he already had interests 
up there. On the Little Wabash River he 
and Lowry Hay had a mill going. They 
had entered land; were going to build a 
town — a county seat! 

Why not settle there? Go along with 

Hay then talked with Willis Hargrave. 
Forget the Sangamon, Hay was advised. 
Get in on the ground floor of this venture. 
We're leaving soon. 

One of Ci \\ I 

Revolutionary War soldier who served in the company of his 
father, Captain Matthew Stewart. The family left North Carolina 
and settled near Marion, Kentucky, before coming to Carmi. Wiir 
liam Stewart was the father of Dr. Josiah Stewart and grandfather 
of Dr. Elam L. Stewart, Carmi's first mayor. He died in 1856 at 
the age of 93 and is buried in the Old Graveyard. 


It was a cold winter morning in 1816. 
Eight men on horseback rode out of Equal- 
ity; took the trail toward New Haven. 
Daniel Hay was with them. Col. Hargrave 
led the way, followed by Capt. Leonard 
White ; Margrave's sons, George and Sam- 
uel; sons-in-law, Benjamin White, James 
A. Richardson and James Ratcliff. 

It was a long ride. Perhaps they dis- 
mounted at New Haven for rest and 
refreshments; talked with Joseph Boone, 
Samuel Dagley and Paddy Robinson; then 
pushed onward up the snowy trail. 

Dusk or darkness must have fallen by 
the time they arrived at Hay's mill. Tired 
horses whinnied at the sig^t of candle 
light, the smell of feed. 

Weary riders were cheered to see 
smoke spiraling from cabin chimneys ; to 
think of hot com bread and venison stew. 

Cabin doors opened. People ran out to 
welcome the new arrivals; ask for news 
from the outside world. 

Now ! A county seat must be selected. 
Guess where it would be? 

On Monday morning, Feb. 5, the four 
commissioners met in Lowry Hay's cabin 
near the mill. They talked all day; met 
again Tuesday and Wednesday, discussing 
"the settlements, the geography of the 
county, the convenience of the people and 
the eligibility of the situation." 

By Thursday, Feb. 8, they had made 
their decision; were ready to draft their 
report. The county seat would be right 
here at this settlement without a name. 

Now to make it legal. The county com- 
missioners — Hargrave, Pomroy and Slo- 
cumb — must meet and accept the report. 
The following Monday, Feb. 12, they went 
to Hay's house. The Rev. Mr. Slocumb 
opened the first county court session with 


They looked at a crude map of the 
large new county. It extended from the 
Wabash River westward into what is now 
Hamilton, Franklin and part of Jefferson. 

They divided the area into three 
townships — Prairie, Fox River and West 
— appointed overseers of the poor, consta- 
bles and fence viewers. After a long day 
they adjourned. 

The next morning James Ratcliff, 
county clerk, and Benjamin R. Smith, sher- 
iff, presented their official bonds. The 
judges then called for the report of the 
commission named to locate the seat of 


Ratcliff, White, Hogg and Hays 
recommended for the county seat a 40- 
acre tract in the northeast quarter of Sec- 
tion 13; announced that Leonard White 
and Lowry Hay would donate 20 of these 
acres to the county. A stake had been 
driven in the center to mark the public 

The official surveyor, Lowry Hay, 
was ordered to lay off the town. Daniel 
McHenry was empowered to mark off lota 
and sell them. 

And so, a town was bom. People didn't 
know what to call it . . . Hay's Mill? . . . 
Hargrave's Store? No, a new county seat 
must have a good name; something with 
a meaning. 

Did John Slocumb then start leafing 
through his Bible? Had he met the Wells 
family from Vermont? Far from their 
Eastern home, this pioneer family took up 
land in this area just before the town was 
formally established. Carmi Wells was the 
father's name, and the youngest of his 
children was named Carmi. 

The Wells family moved on ; settled in 
Wayne County, but they left their name 
here. The parents died and the grand- 
father came west to take the children back 
to Vermont. 

Meeting at John Craw's log house on 
April 10, leaders decided to call the town 
Carmi, a name mentioned eight times in 
Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua and 
First Chronicles. 

^ne ibuf^ a/i'^em o/nd p^oti/iciiAed , 

KITE COUNTY grew fast. By 
1818 it passed Gallatin in popu- 
lation— 3,529 to 3,348— and was the third 
most populous county in the state. 

Settlers poured into Prairie, Fox 
River and West Townships. The forest 
echoed to axes. More and more cabins were 
built in Carnii. The western boundary was 
where the Methodist Church now stands — 
but that was 'way out in the country. And 
the country then was a forest ! 

Oh, the town was thriving. Lowry 
Hay added a sawmill. He and his nephew 
shipped whisky, pork and com to New 
Orleans. The river front was a busy place 
when flatboats were being loaded. 

James S. Graham started a ferry 
close to his hotel; opened a store and 
blacksmith shop. 

George Webb and James Gray ran 
trading posts. They paid %\ for pork bar- 
rels, 12V^c a pound for deerskins, 4c a 
pound for hogs. 

Settlers trading there found these 
prices : 

Bacon 10c lb.; eggs I21/2C a doz. ; 
chickens 10c each ; tallow 12i/^c lb. ; salt 6c 
lb. ; tea 2 ounces 37c ; coffee 50c lb. ; sugar 
32c lb.; soap 25c bar; wheat $1 bu. ; 

Jack knife 371/2C; fish hooks 37V2C 
doz.; looking glass 871/20; flints 25c doz.; 
lead 25c lb. ; powder $1.25 lb. ; curry comb 
371/2C; nails 25c lb.; grindstone $2.75; 
nails and planks for coffin 621/2C; 

Socks 87V^c pair; buttons 25 and 50c 
doz. ; flannel 621/2C yd. ; broadcloth $3 and 
$4 yd.; linen $1.25 yd.; silk $1.50 yd.; 
needles I21/2C doz. ; oilcloth 75c ; bedspread 
$2 ; ribbons 25c yd. ; indigo 2 ounces 25c. 


A frame jail was built (where the 
Municipal Building now stands) but the 
county still had no courthouse. Court was 
held in the home of John Craw. 

The settlement had about 50 families. 
There were four taverns, operated by John 
Craw, Samuel Bozeman, John Lucas and 
Phillip Buckner, and three doctors, Thomas 
Shannon, Josiah Stewart and James E. 

The new county seat attracted law- 
yers. Riding into town in 1818 came John 
M. Robinson, 24, member of a distin- 
guished Lexington, Ky., family. 

Out of Virginia, via Shawneetown, 
came William E. Wilson. Since 1816 he had 
owned land southwest of town. Now in 
1819 he brought his family here. Soon 
after arriving he was elected a Justice of 
the Illinois Supreme Court. 

It was a log cabin village. There were 
no streets — only dirt roads, with short 
stumps standing in some places. 

But there were dreams of beauty and 
gracious living even in a backwoods settle- 
ment. Many came here from Virginia and 
the Carolinas, where they had been accus- 
tomed to stately houses. They appreciated 
good architecture, art, literature and 


An English traveler found it so. Wil- 
liam N. Blane traveled in North America 
in 1822 and 1823 ; returned home to write 
a book about his journey. He tells in detail 
of a trip from Vincennes via Albion to St. 
Louis, then back via Canni to New Har- 

"The whole part of this part of the 
country," he wrote, "until within a few 
miles of the little village of Carmi, is very 
wild but thinly settled, but there is an 
abundance of game. 

"I passed in a single day's ride as 
many as a dozen deer and five gangs of 
wild turkeys. There are also great num- 
bers of wolves, wildcats and other ver- 

Blane tells of riding into the little log 
village, looking for a taveni where he 
might spend the night. He found one, "a 
very comfortable little tavern with a blaz- 
ing fire." 

Batcliff Inn in the ISSCs. Here is an artist's conception of Carmi's Main Street in stagecoach days, 
wlien Batcliff Inn was new and considered one of tlie finest liotels in Illinois. Mrs. Nadine Cliilders 
won a blue riblwn for tliis painting in a contest sponsored by tlie White County Historical Society. 
Mrs. Frances Bacster won a blue riblKMi for her painting of Eatcliff Inn during the 1880's. 

He asked the landlord if there was 
anything to read. The host smiled and 
bowed ; returned with a volume of Gold- 
smith and Scotch novels, "The Traveller" 
and "The Deserted Village." 

Blane expressed surprise and pleasure 
at finding books in the log tavern in the 
little backwoods village. 

Numerous settlers here were people 
of property. They owned slaves, who 
helped them carve homes out of the wil- 
derness. In 1818 there were 52 slaves in 
the county, and most of them were in 

Willis Hargrave owned 14 ; James Rat- 
cliff, 5 ; James Gray, 4 ; Samuel Hargrave, 
3. Lowry Hay had two, who worked at the 
mill, tannery and distillery. Two slaves of 
James S. Graham ran his ferry, helped at 
his store and tavern. Even John Slocumb, 
the minister, owned one slave. 


As the town grew, better dwellings 
were erected. Leonard White built a hand- 
some two-story house with ell and porches. 
It was near the ravine on Main Cross 

Street two blocks north of the present 

White plunged into politics; defeated 
Hargrave for the State Senate. More law- 
yers arrived. Edwin B. Webb and his 
brother George were admitted to the bar. 

The 1820's found Carmi flowering 
into one of the state's important towns. 
The county population grew to 4,828, com- 
pared to Gallatin's 3,155. 

The Presbyterians organized a church. 
Allen Rudolph started building a two-story 
brick courthouse. James Ratcliff built one 
of the finest hotels in Illinois. 

What a sight the tavern must have 
been — a two-story brick with a charming 
Federal entrance. "Old Beaver" Ratcliff 
was busy — county clerk, probate judge, 
postmaster, storekeeper and hotel owner. 

Folks still fretted because there was 
no bridge across the river. County offi- 
cials had been trying to get one built since 
1819. In. 1829 Allen Rudolph— still build- 
ing the courthouse — gave a $500 bond to 
construct a covered bridge. 'Timbers were 
hauled to the site, but the project was 
abandoned. The lumber was used to build 

^ne ^830'i --a a/ovMu^ decade , . 

HE TOWN kept growing; had 
400 residents in 1830. In one 
year the county revenue totaled $975.09. 
Dr. Josiah Stewart came into court and 
paid his taxes, exactly 60c on 40 acres 
adjoining the town. (This land is now the 
center of Carmi's residential district). 

A Yankee peddler, Oliver Holcomb, 
was charged $50 for a three month license 
to sell wooden clocks. Samuel D. Ready, 
Davidson and Kearny and Wilmans and 
Weed paid $15 for yearly licenses to sell 
foreign goods. A general merchandise li- 
cense cost $6. This included the right to 
sell whisky in amounts over one gallon. 
Stores dispensing by the drink or in quan- 
tities less than a gallon paid $50. 

There were several taverns in Carmi 
and one at almost every country crossroad. 




Excitement ran through the village in 
the winter of 1831. A Carmi man was 
going to the U. S. Senate ! 

Since arriving here in 1818, John M. 
Robinson had become a noted lawyer and 
one of the leading political figures of Illi- 
nois. The Legislature elected him to the 
Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the 
death of David J. McLean of Shawnee- 

On a winter day the coachman's 
horn sounded as the stage drew up to the 
Robinson house. Out stepped the new Sen- 
ator, six feet, four inches tall, auburn- 
haired, blue-eyed, 36 years old. 

Into the coach Yie helped his wife Mar- 
garet — daughter of James Ratcliff — and 
their 10-month-old son, James. 

There was more excitement in Canni 
that summer. The new ccrthouse was 
almost completed. People stopped to stare 
and admire it. Windows were being 
installed, shutters hung. The window and 
door frames were of solid walnut. Offices 
were on the second floor. 

The entire first floor, 40 feet square, 
comprised the courtroom. Two log fire- 
places heated the chamber. 

To this commodious room went the 
settlers to sing and pray, dance the Vir- 
ginia reel and minuet, stage home talent 
plays and hold town meetings. For years 
the courtroom was used as a church, ball- 
room, theater and town hall. 

History walks and talks In this liouse to anyone who will listen. The General John M. Robinson House 
at the corner of Main Cross and Robinson Streets is one of the oldest residences in Illinois. Erected In 
1814 by John Craw as a two-room log residence, it served as White County's courthouse prior to 1828. 
Purchased in 1835 by U. S. Senator Robinson, it was enlarged and beautified and became the meeting 
place of notable men, including Abraham Lincoln. Later it became the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert 
Stewart and Miss Mary Jane Stewart, granddaughter of Senator Robinson. 

The 1830's added up to a glorious 
decade for White County political leaders. 
Robinson, in the Congress, was mingling 
with Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John C. 
Calhoun, Davey Crockett, John Quincy 
Adams, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van 

Back home, others were rising in state 
politics. William E. Wilson was chief ju.s- 
tice of Illinois. Edwin B. Webb served four 
terms in the House with Abraham Lincoln, 
became a close friend of Abe. 


Unlike his tall brother-in-law. Senator 
Robinson, Webb was a small man. He and 
Robinson were of elegant and courtly man- 
ners, true aristocrats from Virginia fam- 

Others who served in the Legislature 
were Dr. Josiah Stewart, William Mc- 
Henry, Nathaniel Blackford, William Eu- 
banks, John C. Goudy, John McCown, Alex- 
ander Phillips and Col. William H. David- 

Davidson was a wealthy merchant. 
He moved his family to Canni from Vir- 
ginia in 1830; took over the Leonard 
White residence. Into the big white house 
on the ravine he moved the expensive fur- 
niture he brought from the east. 

Defeating McHenry for the State Sen- 
ate, he was speaker of that house in 1836 
when Alex Jenkins resigned as lieutenant 
governor. The CaiTni senator then moved 
up to the second highest post in the state. 

S^^ ^£tncfd7i, a mtulae ei/rul a, ct^i/Jieiiion 

S THE 1830's faded a great 
event developed. The Little Wa- 
bash was about to be bridged! After 20 
years of efforts, success was in sight. Ben- 
jamin M. St. John was awarded a contract 
in 1839. He started the following year. 

Trees were felled in nearby woods. 
Heavy timbers and beams were hewed. 
Quarrymen cut stone from the river 
banks. Thirty masons kept busy building 
stone piers. The covered bridge was to be 
300 feet long. 

They worked fast, hoping to finish in 
time for a Whig rally set for September 1. 
The principal speaker was to be a Spring- 
field lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. 


Summer rains made the river rise that 
summer. The swirling waters swept away 
the false work from under the east span. 
Crash ! That end of the bridge fell into the 
river and was washed downstream. 

The Whigs were too busy to let that 
worry them. They sent word to all the 
counties in southern Illinois ; urged people 
to come for the political rally and barbe- 

They were whooping it up for Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison for President. Lin- 
coln was a candidate for Presidential elec- 
tor; planned campaign stops at Carmi, 
Shawneetown and Albion. 

The great day dawned. Rain started 
falling. Even that didn't dampen the 
Whigs' enthusiasm. Down muddy, rutted 
roads from all directions came the people 
. . . walking, riding horseback, in carts and 
wagons drawn by horses and oxen. 

"Whoopee!" "Tippecanoe and Tyler, 

Wagons and carts were loaded with 
people and provisions. Beef, mutton, poul- 
try, bread, cakes and pies for thousands 
were unloaded at Stewart's grove. Dr. 
Josiah Stewart lived in a double log house. 
It was 'way out in the country then, but 
now it's the corner of Third and Stewart 

In the grove they had dug a barbecue 
pit. It was 600 feet long, two feet deep and 
four feet wide. Live hickory coals filled the 
trench, and over these the meats were pre- 

Abraham Lincoln looked much like this when he came 
to Carmi In 1840. A member of the Illinois House of 
Representatives, Lincoln was 31 years old when he hit 
the camptaign trail for William Henry Harrison in the 
"Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too" campaigrn. 

John Wilson was one of the marshals ; 
deputized to conduct the Gallatin County 
delegation to the barbecue grounds. 

"There were hundreds from Gallatin 
alone," he said. 

A great parade was held, with the lead 
taken by a log cabin decorated with coon- 
skins, mounted upon wheels and drawn by 
many yoke of oxen. 


Chief Justice Wilson walked to town 
from his farm. His wagon was drawn by 
four yoke of oxen. Their horns were decor- 
ated with red, white and blue ribbons. 
They were fastened in gimlet holes bored 
through points of the animals' horns. 

The judge walked beside the oxen as 
driver and his wife, Mary, sat in front of 
the wagon, which was loaded with pro- 

Despite the rain, the rally was a great 
success. Lincoln stood before the huge 
throng and spoke for more than an hour. 
That night he lodged at Ratcliff Inn, 
where he visited with his many friends. 

The Whigs won a smashing victory, 
but it was in the face of a creeping depres- 
sion. All over the nation banks crashed, 
factories closed, merchants failed, farm 
prices plummeted. 

In White County business went bank- 
rupt. Shelves were empty. Stores closed. 
A dozen places failed in Carmi. Only G. W. 
Webb & Co., Samuel D. Ready and W. H. 
Davidson weathered the storm. 

Every business in Grayville folded. 
The stores had no merchandise, the tav- 
erns no liquor. Thirsty Grayville men trav- 
eled to the New Harmony distillery or to 
the Carmi taverns. 

Farmers raised good crops, but there 
was no market for them. Most were sold to 
failing merchants who paid starvation 
prices with worthless notes. 

A few farmers floated their products 
to New Orleans on flatboats. There they 
found low prices, but what cash they did 
get was in gold and silver. Returning they 
brought sugar, coffee, tea, rice and molas- 


The covered bridge was completed in 
the summer of 1841 but few could afford 
to pay the small toll to cross. 


The above pictures the fb-st covered bridge across the Little 
Wal>ash River in Carmi, the conception of Mrs. Ot.s vKatherine 
St. John) Dill. Benjamin M. S^. John was the architect and 

By 1842 the county was a shambles 
commercially. Three fourths of the busi- 
ness houses had failed. Everybody seemed 
to be suing somebody. Many lost their 
farms. Good work horses were taken from 
plows by constables and sold at sales for 
as low as $8. 

The suffering stirred the people reli- 
giously. Revivals started all over the 
county. Meeting houses were filled. People 
were broke but they clung to their faith. 

The unrest caused a political upset. In 
the 1842 election Webb was defeated for 
the Legislature. John S. Lawler, a Demo- 
crat, beat him by 40 votes. 

Gradually business improved. Prices 
inched upwards. 

The Democrats hoped hard times 
would help them win in 1844, but the 
Whigs staged a comeback. Nobody came 
back stronger than Webb. He won election 
to the State Senate and Lawler, who had 
ousted Webb from the House two years 
earlier, was defeated by Reuben Emerson. 

By 1849 business was humming. In 
the midst of prosperity, exciting news 
came from California. Grold! 

Up and down Carmi's Main Street peo- 
ple gathered to talk about the rush west- 
ward. Gold fever broke out in taverns and 
crossroads stores. 

S^ ifuMi ux^ aold . . . >c<?4e4 (tn^t cCiftt/mi . . . 

HAT WINTER Asa Ross and 
his workmen were busy building 
light wagons. By spring, men were buying 
supplies, bargaining for young oxen. They 
paid $30 to $50 per yoke. 

On May 29, 1850, Carmi's overland 
wagon train was ready. Thirteen men 
were up before dawn. Wagons were loaded. 
Oxen were hitched. Whips cracked on the 
morning air. California or bust! 

People cheered as tne oxen lumbered 
down the dusty street. The lead wagon was 
owned by James Shipley, Orlando Burrell, 
Tom, J. S. and Len Ross. 


Next came the wagon of Lemuel Land, 
Tom Shipley, Tom Vines, and James Kil- 
breth. The third was owned by Bill Little, 
John Ganley, Jim Shipley and Sylvester 

Crossing the great plains and moun- 
tains, they passed skeletons of horses, 
oxen and cattle and broken wagons. They 
met Indians but, fortunately, all were 
friendly. After three months they arrived 
in California. 

The Rev. Alfred Flower came from 
Albion in 1852 to hold a 16-day meeting 
for the Christian congregation. His sister 
took him to PhilUpstown in her carriage. 
There he waited at the Hasty house for 
the midnight stage from Grayville. 

It was 2:30 a.m. when the stagecoach 
rolled into town. The driver blew his horn 
and stopped at the home of Mrs. John M. 
Robinson, who was at the steps to greet 
the minister. 

The meetings drew large crowds to 
the courthouse. The heat was so oppressive 
that August the people considered moving 
to a nearby grove. However, Carson Hay 
had an idea. He removed all the courtroom 
windows and stored them. The shutters 
were closed and the meeting room was 
much cooler. For 16 nights — including 
three Sundays — the meetings went on, 
with town and country people filling the 

In 1852 the Methodists erected the 
first church in Carmi. It was a small brick 
structure on Main Street, where the Ball 
Drug Store now stands. Methodists and 
Presbyterians both used the building. 

Nobody struck it rich. After a year 
they started home. They boarded ship at 
San Francisco and sailed to Panama ; walk- 
ed across the isthmus along a narrow 
trail; took another ship to New Orleans; 
came up the Mississippi, Ohio and Little 
Wabash Rivers to Carmi. 

On the way, Lemuel Land died at 
Lake Charles, La. He was buried there. 
Later, his family brought his body back 
to White County. 

Carmi was growing apace. Eyes of the 
state focused on the town in 1852 when 
Edwin Webb was nominated for Governor. 
The Whigs named him by acclamation. He 
was defeated by Joel Matteson in the Dem- 
ocratic sweep that year. 

Religious life was better organized. 
The Methodists formed a society in 1850; 
the Christians in 1851. The Presbyterians 

had been organized since 1827. All three 
denominations took turns meeting at the 


The village resounded to music in 
1855. The Carmi Brass Band was organ- 
ized, with Prof. George Warren, of Evans- 
ville, as teacher. John Craw was the snare 
drummer. William Cook played the cornet. 
Michael Anderson beat the bass drum. 
Other musicians were H. L. Bozeman, W. 
H. Phipps, Thornton Bozeman, J. B. Craig, 
Otto Phefflin and Walter A. Rhue. 

The town was spreading out. Attor- 
ney John M. Crebs built a large house at 
Stewart and Jessup. Two blocks south, at 
Main, Richard Jessup erected a two-story 
residence with mansard roof. John Storms 
a large brick business block on Main. 

Left to rislit: Florence 1>. \Mieatcroft, I>ouise Cook Winner, Mary Prlscilla Brown, Margaret Patrick 
Kerney, Alice Mahala Organ, Pattie Webb Stewart, Mary Patrick Boyer and Harriet Ellen Pearce. 

When the free school law was passed 
in 1856, people got busy. They elected 
Berry Crebs, Albert R. Shannon and Dr. 
E. L. Stewart to a school board. Samuel 
Slocumb erected a large brick schoolhouse 
on Fourth Street. J. L. Waterman was the 
first principal. The second was N. B. Hods- 
don, with Miss P. L. Dewey as associate 

Before the free school was opened it 
was a struggle for many to get an educa- 
tion. The teiTTi usually lasted three months 
and the cost — $2 to $2.50 per teiTn — was 
high for many families. 

Youngsters were expected to earn 
their school money. They dug ginseng, 
gathered nuts, chopped wood, hunted rab- 
bits and caught coons. 

Orlando Burrell chopped 10 cords of 
wood for James Ratcliff at 25c per cord to 
pay for a school term. 

AH, THE 1850'S 

Life was sweet and serene in the vil- 
lage in the 1850's. "Listen to the Mocking 

Bird" was the song of the day. Many a 
Carmi swain thrilled to the words as he 
stood, bewhiskered and in swallow-tail coat, 
beside the organ in the parlor while a girl 
played and sang. 

It was a time in the best society cir- 
cles of fragile, low-cut evening dresses of 
gauze and illusion, and garlanded wdth 
roses, violets and honeysuckle. Blossoms 
trailed on the great distended skirts, and 
life was colorful and gay — even in a village 
of mud streets, with no sidewalks save for 
a few boards here and there. 

Gay young blades succumbed to the 
craze for mustaches, and almost to a man 
had ceased to shave their upper lips. 
Beards were plentiful, and in business and 
professional circles men dressed in black 
or blue broadcloth swallow-tail coats 
adorned with bright buttons. 

As the decade ended, war clouds were 
gathering. Rumblings of the storm echoed 
out of Springfield and Washington. 

The South was threatening to secede 
— and Cai-mi's many people of southern 
ancestiy shuddered at the thought. 

fya/it^ and fi€i 


"Nothing is worse than war'! Dishonor 
is worse than war. Slavery is worse than 
war." — Winston Churchill. 



spoke in Carmi, Abe Lincoln was 
in the White House. Many of his old 
friends here were dead — Robinson, Rat- 
cliff, Webb, Wilson, Davidson, McHenry. 

Lincoln faced a seceding south, and 
the cannon that fired on Fort Sumter 
reverberated along the Little Wabash. 

When news came of Lincoln's call for 
75,000 volunteers excitement ran like 
lightning through the village. Answering 
immediately were Orlando Burrell, Frank 
Lindsay and L. S. Rice. They hurriedly 
organized men who were mustered in April 
25 as Company D, Eighth Infantry. 

Meanwhile, Attorneys John E. Whi- 
ting and John M. Crebs started organizing 
a regiment of volunteers. White County 
men thronged to the colors. Their Eighty- 
seventh Infantry was formally organized 
at Shawneetown Aug. 16, 1862, and mus- 
tered in Sept. 22. 

Col. Whiting headed the regiment. 
Crebs was lieutenant colonel. George W. 
Land was major; John D. Martin, adju- 
tant; Francis M. Coulter, quartermaster; 
Dr. Elam M. Stewart, surgeon; Dr. Daniel 
P. Berry, assistant surgeon. The Methodist 
minister, Albert Ransom, went as chaplain. 
Captains were James A. Miller, James 
Fackney, Edmund Emery, James E. Willis. 
John H. Wasson, Samuel J. Foster, Ross 
Graham, Benjamin F. Brockett, Sr., James 
P. Thomas, Martin Vaught, Thomas Eulow 
and William T. Prunty. 



White County won an eminent place 
in the nation's record of volunteers, ex- 
ceeding its draft quota by more than 700 

In blood and sacrifice, the toll was 
high with about 500 giving their lives in 
the struggle. 

After peace came, one more was to 
die. He was Abraham Lincoln, assassina- 
ted on Good Friday 1865 by John Wilkes 
Booth in Ford's Theater in Washington. 

Once more Carmi's association with 
Lincoln was to be recorded in the pages of 
history. Commanding the troops captur- 
ing the fleeing Booth was Col. Everton J. 
Conger, son of Carmi's Rev. Enoch Conger 
and brother of Attorney C. S. Conger. 

Returning veterans picked up the 
threads of peace and once again wove 
themselves into the fabric of the commu- 

Carmi grew, slowly. The little brick 
church on Main Street was abandoned by 
Methodists and Presbyterians. Both de- 
nominations had alternated in using the 
building. At the comer of Church and 
Main the Methodists erected a tall white 
frame building with steeple. On First 
Street the Presbyterians built their house 
of worship. Members of the Christian 
Church completed their new building in 

Business flourished and the town 
entered the 1870's with great expectations. 

^(U^, lu/^ lown " = fiofia/a4i(>n -^,29^ . 

This IS one of the most valuable pictures of old-time Carmi. It shows the north side of the courthouse 
square on a snowy day in 1875. The original 1828 courthouse was only 47 years old. The Fireproof 
Building on the opposite comer was new. Bacli of that buUdlng stood a busy hotel. On the southeast 
comer, where the Williams house now stands, was a hitching post. 

y^aA^ S^, Hir. Q^oA^^^r^lM^^ 

Horses pulling: wagons plodded down snowy, muddy Main Street in the winter of 1875. The tall spire 
of the Methodist Church is seen at the left. 

ARDLY 600 people lived in 
Carmi as the 1860's ended. 

The 1870's brought a boom. Popula- 
tion doubled in two years. Ephraim Joy 
and his sons, Thomas and Andrew, came 
from Bridgeport and started the Carmi 
Weekly Times. 

Steamboats plied the Little Wabash 
and Skillet Fork. The Cairo and Vincennes 
Railroad was being built. 

"Over 200 houses have been built here 
in the last year," said the Carmi Times in 
1872. "Several fine new business houses 
are in process of construction." 

The town had 6 boss carpenters; 5 
plasterers; 6 bricklayers; 3 blacksmith 
shops with 2 to 6 smiths in each shop; 3 
wagon shops ; 2 tin shops ; 2 saddle shops ; 
2 shoe shops ; 2 tailor shops ; 2 boss paint- 
ers ; 1 marble yard ; 2 brick yards working 
10 to 20 men ; 2 sawmills ; 1 stave factory 
with 12 hands; 2 cooper shops with 20 
workmen; 1 woolen factory; 1 foundry; 1 
grist water mill; a merchant mill; 8 dry 
goods stores; 2 shoe stores; 2 clothing 
stores; 4 family groceries; 2 drug stores; 
1 hardware store; 1 confectionery and 

J. M. Crebs was in Congress. His law 
partner back home was C. S. Conger. 

The Damron House was a busy place ; 
offered good stabling, sample rooms for 
commercial travelers and a free omnibus 
to and from all trains. On Jan. 23, 1873, 
the Carmi Times said : "A sister of the late 
Stonewall Jackson stopped at the Damron 
House last Wednesday. She is on a visit to 
relatives in the county." 

In the centennial year of America's independence — 1876 — Carmi 
built two fine brick schools, and they were used until they were 
replaced in the 1930's. At top, the South Side School. Bottom, 
North Side School'. 


The long: covered bridge last^nl only 38 years. Completed ill 1841, 
it was razed in 1879 and this splendid iron span was built. 

At Viskniskki's St. Louis Store coffee 
3old four pounds for $1 ; sugar, six pounds 
for $1 ; coal oil, 40c gal. ; crackers, 12c lb. ; 
rice I2V2C lb. ; cheese, 20c lb. ; cod fish, 8c 
lb. ; cured ham, 15c lb. ; a broom, 20c ; bar 
of soap, 5c ; pickles, 10c doz. 

At Christmas time in 1872 Mr. Ma- 
lone's book store advertised "Secrets of 
the Convent and Confessional," "Mormon 
Wife," "Three Years in a Man-Trap," and 
"Laws of Health and the Human Form." 

The Carmi Times personals column 
had these items : "Mating time now. Splen- 
did skating. Egg-nog times are here. Sev- 
eral of the boys were on a glorious bust 
Christmas day. Fireworks were heard all 
over town the past week. Bustles are said 
to have proved useful during the late slip- 
pery times." 

In spite of the building and progress, 
Carmi was still a mud street town. Hogs 
wallowed in Main Street mud holes. A log 
cabin still stood where the Radio Building 
now stands at Main and Walnut. 

Farmers coming to town for supplies 
often found their wagons mired deep in 
mud. It took an entire day to come to town 
and return home. Some stayed overnight. 
Graham's two-story hotel was where the 
Innovation now operates. 

Food was plentiful and cheap. A 
housewife could buy a basketful of back- 
bones and spareribs at Byrd Patrick's pork 
house for a dime. 

And then the village became a town. 
The people voted — 135 to 106 — to incor- 
porate. In a lively election Dr. Elam L. 
Stewart was elected mayor, defeating Ross 

As the town grew the Free School 
became crowded. Two-story brick school- 
houses were built on the North and South 

The covered bridge was demolished 
and an iron bridge built. 

The White County Fair was organ- 
ized. The Fair Association bought 40 
acres 'way out in the country west of town. 

Business and agriculture, education 
and religion were flourishing as Carmi 
greeted the 1880's. 

Carmi's First Mayor 


^eia cou/jf^honAe, a/)^d cl cclleae . 

ARMERS COMING to Carmi in 
the ]880's were astonished at 
the changes. Their wagons and buggies 
rumbled over the new iron bridge. 

The present city park at Main and 
Main Cross Streets was a hitching yard. 
There they tied their horses. Across the 
street the 1828 courthouse was being 
razed. A new two-story, towered court- 
house was being planned. 

The town's population had doubled 
again ! From its 1,294 residents of 1873 the 
figure rose to 2,512 in the 1880 census. 

The George S. Staley mill was big 
business then. Every day it turned out 100 
barrels of flour and 50 barrels of meal. 

Harvey Crozier came to town and 
opened a large grocery at First and Smith 
Streets. A fine confectionery was started 
on Main by William Dietz. 

There still were vacant lots on Main 
Street. They were popular meeting places 
for boys playing marbles and men holding 
political rallies. 

The town had crept westward and 
extended to Plum Street. There, on the 
southwest comer, was built a two-story 
brick college with a tower. It was the new 
home of the Southern Illinois Normal 
School and Commercial College. 

The school had been burned out ear- 
lier when a fire swept the Brockett build- 
ing on Main Street. 

CAR Mi WAT£« SAiiiimg 

The town made progi'ess through the 
decade with mayors named Orlando Bur- 
rell, George Wissinger, Frank E. Hay, Dr. 
John M. Minick and Simon Grant. 

Carmi was a rough town in those 
days, especially on Saturday night. Saloons 
were crowded and fights were frequent on 
the streets. The Dollar Courier reported a 
general free-for-all one Saturday night 
with 50 men engaged in combat. Police 
were overpowered and no arrests were per- 

The newspaper reported that a burg- 
lar reached into Tom Ary's sleeping room 
and pulled out a vest. In the pockets he 
found $50 and Ary's false teeth. The vest 
and teeth were found hanging on a tree 
north of the railroad shops several days 

The 1880's closed with C. S. Conger 
being elected circuit judge and .James R. 
Williams going to Congress. 



i This home and general store of Mrs. Mary Shannon Williams' father, 
Albert R. Shannon, was replaced by tlie Victorian residence of Con- 
Igressman and Mrs. James R. Williams. It is now occupied by Mrs. 
|Robert Ready Williams. 

John D. Martin's largre resid^ice was <m Court Square. 

The BjTd L. Patrick family lived in this house on Main Street, close 
to the present site of the Carmi Theatre. This picture was taken in 
1888. The house was moved to Robinson Street and is now the 
Archer Apartments. 

Be^dence of George E. Staley, the miller. 

ff^-*-<J ^Mf^ f-^^Sfc- 

Bcnwmber the days of the dill' pickle barrel? And the hoarhouiid 
candy in glass jars? And the cracker barrel and pot-bellied stove? 
And old Dobbin pullfng- the delivery wagron? You could see them 
■n at Harvey Crozier's New York Grocery Store, top right, at 
Smitti and First Streets back in the ISSCTs. Driving the wagon is 
Everett M. Robinson. Facliig: the wag:on is Henry Stockhowe. To 
the rigrht of Stockhowe Is Fred Barth. Center, rlgrht, the ZiegrJer 
and Beinwald stiave factory, a big: industry here In the eighties 
and nineties. Second man on left is George Schauiierger, fattier 
o< Mrs. Laurence Boehringer. Bottom right, the Zlegler and Bein- 
wald sawmill. Sectmd frmn left, behind vragon, is Frank Leathers. 
At right, man standing in wagon in shirt sleeves Isl Ike Leathers. 
On far right is Ekios Leathers. Second fr<mi right, Granville 

S^n. In^^e w^n/deif^t nlne^^/ 

"All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.' 

HE PEANUT roaster chuffed 
in front of William Dietz's Main 

Street Confectionery. The toy clown on it 

bobbed up and down. 

A caisson with a Civil War cannon 
stood in front of the Fireproof Building. 

A dashing young doctor from Austra- 
lia, William Brimble-Combe, made his 
rounds in a fancy buggy, pulled by a black 
horse named Joe Lee. 

Fred Bair, Ed Mead, Miss Stella 
Schoemann and many others sped up and 
down the dusty streets on bicycles. 

"Kid" Hacker wore a sandwich board 
advertising Coca-Cola in front of Dietz's. 

It was a colorful, gracious, delightful 
decade; the days of the Gibson Girl with 
pompadour hair-do, puffed sleeves and bil- 
lowing skirts. 

Oh, the Nineties were gay, all right! 
Dances and kissing games became popular. 
Women started using face powder; colors 
and bright prints for dresses; large 
brooches and lavaliers. 

In tune with the times, men wore 
striped and checked suits, gaudy ties, 
fancy vests, heavy watch chains, mus- 
taches and derby hats. 

RatoUff Inn was old in lo^i. xi. had been standing: for 69 years in 
this picture. Adjoining: to rlg:lit is A. Willis, ptiotographer. Next is 
Stinson Bros, store. 

Miss Stella Schoemann riding: a bicyde on Church Street in 1896. 

E m w wwi 11 1 ff^ im m-ffiti''^**^ 

William Dietz' peanut roaster in 

Kid Hacker advertising: CocarCoIa in front of the Dietz restaurant 
in 1896. 

Best-seller novels became popular. 
People avidly read "The Prisoner of 
Zenda," "Trilby," "Quo Vadis," and "When 
Knighthood Was in Flower." 

The town continued growing, with 
2,755 residents in 1890. During the decade 
the mayors were Simon Grant, owner of a 
brickyard; George Wheatcroft, sawmill 
owner ; Attorney Jasper Partridge, George 
Ziegler, manufacturer of staves, barrels 
and lumber; Harvey H. Crozier. merchant 
and grain dealer. 

It was an era of lively tunes, at home, 
on the street and in the theater. Young 
and old liked to gather in the parlor 
around the reed organ and sing "Bicycle 
Built for Two," "After the Ball," "Sweet 
Marie," "Ta-ra-ra-ra Boom de-ay," "The 
Bowery," "Sidewalks of New York," and 
"Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight." 

Civil War cannon in front of Fireproof Building- at Main and Main 
Cross Streets. 

Ed Mead on a wheel on Church Street in 1896. 

Fred Bair bicycling- on Main. Residence on left was that of W. R. 
Archer; right, Joe F. Williams^ 

Horse and buggy doctor of the 1890's. Dr. William Brimble-Combe, who came from Australia, sits 
in his buggy behind Joe Lee on the river bank near the iron bridge. 

William Jennings Bryan as he appeared In Carml In 1896. 

Charles P. Berry bought the Carmi 
Courier. Wust and Faulkner built the first 
electric light plant. Two new banks were 
organized — the First National, headed by 
James A. Miller, and the Farmers and 
Merchants, with William R. Cochran as 

The Methodists and Presbyterians 
built new churches and Mrs. Morris Blas- 
ker organized the Home Culture Circle at 
her home on West Main Street. 

Surrey with the fringre on top — and old Dobbin doesn't mind the 
muddy road as he cHp-clops toward the Main Street bridge 
in Tarmi. 

Orlando Burrell, sheriff, county 
judge. Congressman, mayor. 

In a political upset, Orlando Burrell, 
former sheriff, county judge and mayor, 
defeated James R. Williams for Congress 
in 1895, but Williams staged a comeback 
in 1899 and went on to national prom- 

William Jennings Bryan came cam- 
paigning in 1896. He spoke on a flag- 
draped platform near the depot and was 
photographed on the street with numerous 
Carmi people. 

The streets were still muddy or dusty, 
depending on the weather. 

Shoppers thronged to the stores own- 
ed by L. Haas, Morris Blasker, Stinson 
Brothers and A. Schoemann. For fancy 
groceries they went to J. J. Birdsong, Witt- 
mer and Machenheimer, Stockhowe's New 
York Grocery and B. L. Patrick's. T. W. 
Brown had a busy meat market on Main, 
where the Hirsch store now stands, and 
on the Standard Oil comer we now know 
stood the fenced-in residence of the J. F. 
Williams family. 

Will Rice had a thriving tobacco bus- 
iness. W. A. Ball opened his drug store on 
Church Street, close to a rising young den- 
tist. Dr. A. S. Rudolph. 

The Kerney and Stinnett mill was a 
big business on the river front and Steven 
Eckerle's brick and tile works was boom- 

"Remember the Maine!" was the cry 
in 1898 when America went to war with 
Spain, and once more Carmi men answered 
the call to the colors. 

Fun at Dtetz's in 1895. Oh, that was the place to go 70 y(>ars ayol Posing clotkvvise, Mr. and Mrs. 
Claude M. Barnes, Mr. and IVIrs. Berry Crebs, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Crebs, Stella Haas and her 
brother, Erwin, Miss Molly Stewart, Joe Williams. The woman left center is unidentified. 

In the old Opera House in 1898. These civic leaders presented a play, "The Destriek Schul," for the 
Home Culture Circle in ite efforts to raise money to start a pubUc library. The old Opera House was 
on tlhe second floor of what is now the Carmi Furniture Store. Pictured left to right are, bottom row: 
Will Tully, Bob Silliman, Ira Funkhouser, Dr. Daniel Berry, George Meridith, Will Smith and Dr. 
Berry Crebs. Second row: Mrs. Albert Schoemann, Mrs. Mark Blasker, Mrs. Tom Poynton, Mrs. George 
Meridith, Mrs. Tom Hutchins, Mrs. Perry WTiite, Mrs. Ira Funkhouser and Mrs. Bateliff Webb. Third 
row: Mrs. Dave Rickenbach, Miss Laura Stinnett, Miss Ira Clayton, T. W. Hall, Mrs. Sophia Miller, 
Mrs. W. C. Smith, A. L. Patrick, Mrs. R. E. Pearce, Bradford Powell and Miss Jane Craw. Fourth row: 
Mrs. Felix Viskniskki, Sheriff Tom Hutchins, Mrs. Tom Hall, Mrs. Burnett and Mrs. P. A. Pearce. Top 
row: John Crebs, Mr. Burnett and Dave K. Rickenbach. 


i^~;-: ;,.:-;spf§ 


HE OLD century ended on 

Carmi people held watch parties and 
church services as they bid farewell to the 
1800's. Church bells rang in an era of 
peace and gracious living. 

LfOwry Hay, James Ratcliff and the 
other pioneers of 1816 would have rubbed 
their eyes in astonishment if they could 
have seen "their town" 84 years later. 

Carmi's population had risen to 2,939 ! 
Life was pleasant and serene. Food was 
abundant, inexpensive and good. Business 
was booming. Carmi was the trade center 
for a large area. 

In the first decade of the new cen- 
tury, two new banks were opened — The 
National Bank of CaiTni in 1900 with John 
M. Crebs as president and the White 
County Bank in 1904, headed by Frank E. 

Durable, dependable old Orlando Bur- 
rell was mayor again at 75 and he served 
until he was 81. Under his administrations 
Main Street was paved with cobblestones 
from Main Cross to Church. Tom Poynton 
poured many concrete sidewalks to replace 
board walks. 

Electric arc lights flickered at night. 
By day the drays, wagons and buggies 
clattered over the cobblestones. Hitching 
racks, blacksmith shops and livery stables 
were busy places. 

The horse was king. Harness shops, 
sales stables, feed stores were open early 
and late. All over town residents had their 
own stables and carriage houses. Buggies 

could be bought for as little as $60. Some 
bought carriages costing as much as $400, 
with rubber tires and graceful oil lamps. 

The 1900's arrived with people sing- 
ing "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now," 
"A Bii'd in a Gilded Cage" and "By the 
Light of the Silvery Moon." Carmi i)eople 
were reading "The Virginian," "Alice of 
Old Vincennes" and "The Little Shepherd 
of Kingdom Come." 

Men started shaving off their mus- 
taches and beards. Gillette invented the 
safety razor. 

Dressmaking was big business and so 
was the millinery trade. Women wore 
fancy lace and scrim dust ruffles to pro- 
tect their dresses. Waists and sleeves fit- 
ted tightly. 

It was a decade of great events nation- 
ally. The Wright brothers proved that an 
airplane would fly. A one-cylinder Packard 
crossed the continent in 61 days. President 
McKinley was assassinated and Teddy 
Roosevelt came to power. 

"Motormania" hit the country. A Reo 
auto could be bought for $650 and Ransom 
E. Olds planned to build 430 one year. The 
two-cylinder Maxwell runabout was an 
immediate hit. 

On the river bank near the bridge 
Joseph Weigant's mill ground busily away. 
West of there, where the Rice Motor Com- 
pany now operates, James Cullison's gen- 
eral store was taking in poultry and eggs 
in trade. 

Bernard Haen and his young partner 
El-nest Wehrle had a bakery on Brick 
(Church) Street and the Jahlreiss bakery 
was operating on Main. 

Gone are tiie drudg^ing women — they sing- and smile 

And the cruel song of the whetstone, HIce the ghosit of the 
past is dead; 

The wheat is ripe in the upland, and the hay is snug in the 

And tiie mily song as the days go by is the purr of the 
ccKDiMne now. 

'Way l>acli; there's where I'd love to be, 
Shet of each i'esson and hatefui ruie, 

When the whole round world was as sweet to me 
As the big ripe apple I brung to school. 

Party time on Stewart Street. The Ail>ert Schoemann home at Tliird and Stewart Streets was a social 
center in the 1890's. This picture of young people there was talten in 1892. 

Jack Cross was running a restaurant 
at Main and Walnut (where the First 
National Bank now stands) and next door 
was Hugh Trammell's barber shop. Jasper 
Dale's Drug Store was where the Shoe 
Mart now stands, and the Halk Auto loca- 
tion then was Schumaker's clothing store. 
East of that was the popular confectionery 
of William Dietz, now busier than ever as 
King's Confectionery. 

Lee Rose had a barber shop next to 
Dietz, and where Sam Ziegler now does 
business was Blasker's Di-y Goods Store. 

Sonny Gumberts had a saloon in an 
old frame building on the site of the pres- 
ent White County Bank and in the same 
block was the L. Haas store. 

Carmi ladies thronged to Mrs. 
Kuykendall's milliner>' shop, where the 
White County Abstract Company now op- 
erates, next to the City Park. 

It was a decade of fun and frolic. The 
B.N.K. Club staged shows at the Opera 
House for the benefit of the Village Im- 
provement Association. Folks thronged 
to the White County Fair in their buggies 
and caiTiages. The Thursday and Friday 
Clubs attracted the cream of society. 

Nickelodeons drew people to flicker- 
ing moving picture shows. It was a period 
of ragtime music and Sousa the march 

People sang and hummed "Won't You 
Come Home, Bill Bailey?", "The Good Old 
Summer Time," "Sweet Adeline," "Meet 
Me in St. Louis," and "Shine On, Harvest 

Attorney F. M. Parish and Claude M. 
Barnes followed Burrell as mayors. Barnes 
was a wealthv land owner and merchant. 


Editor, CongTessman, Civic Leader 

He pushed the paving of streets and for 
general improvements. 

On May 6, 1909, a 23-year-old news- 
paperman came to town. Although there 
were two newspapers here already — the 
Carmi Times and the White County Demo- 
crat — Roy Clippinger started the Carmi 
Tribune in partnership with Lawrence M. 

Those Easter bonnets I Ladies and little girls knew that the place to go was to Mrs. 
Kuykendall's millinery shop. It was a popular place in the first decade of this 
century. The building on Main beside the park now iS occupied by the White County 
Abstract Company. 

KriiM 1 tiie brass lamps on 

those wonderful MaxweDs? SttD 
in his teens, Matthew Land driv«8 
the family auto alon^: a oountry 

Clipping«r had started setting type at 
10 years of age. He worked for the Norris 
City newspaper owned by his father, A. C. 
Clippinger, then launched out for himself 
in Carmi. 

A bom leader, Clippinger was so in- 
dustrious he worked day and night. With- 
in two years he had merged his paper with 
the Carmi Times. He operated the Tribune- 
Times until 1929, when it merged with 
Judge C. S. Conger's White County Demo- 
crat. Clippinger and Conger were partners 
for several years in the Carmi Democrat- 
Tribune. The judge then sold his interest 
to Clippinger. 

Editing the only newspaper in the 
county seat, Clippinger continually pushed 

for Carmi's improvement. He got a bridge 
built at New Harmony, organized and 
headed the Greater Weeklies of America, 
converted his newspaper into a daily and 
was twice elected to Congress. 

When he died Dec. 24, 1962, he left a 
new Carmi Times, a daily newspaper. He 
had been an editor here for 53 years and a 
newspaperman for 66. 

As the first decade of the new cen- 
tury closed, Taft was President, the first 
model T was catching the public's fancy, 
the city's population had dropped a little 
and people were singing two of the most 
popular songs ever viritten, "Let Me Call 
You Sweetheart" and "Ah, Sweet Mystery 
of Life." 

Washington's birthday party about 1905, in the home of Mrs. 
Frank E. Hay. Members of the DAB and Thursday Club are 
identifled as, front row sitting, left to right: Mrs. Virginia Malt- 
by (non-member), Mrs. Claud Barnes, Mrs. John M. Creljs, Mrs. 
J. W. Maffitt, Mrs. Jolm C. Powell and Mrs. Charles P. Berry. 
Back row, standing, left to right: Miss Mary J. B. Stewart, Miss 
Catherine McOilntock, Mrs. Berry Crebs, Miss Annie Cong'er, Miss 
Molly Stewart and Mrs. Boy E. Pearce. 

THE FRIDAY CLUB IN 1906 — Lai Tlie ladies were lovely 60 
years ago. Back row: Pearl Bice Ziegler, Bemieee Schoemann, 
Evelyn Viskniskki McCave, Kate Pomeroy Wilson, Nellie Boyer 
Pearce, Grace Caley Dietz and Ella Berry Barnes. Middle row: 
Elmma Smith Boyer, Lena Patrick Conger, Vera Viskniskki, 
Eileen Tuck Martin, Anna Tente Boyer, Ethel 3Iartin Bullard and 
Lilly Smith Bich. Front row: Stella Schoemann Singer, Helen 
Conger Haas and Ekina Haas. 

Many still living remember the wonderful Innovation, meeting place for courtin' or a Coke; to listen to music amid the palms; 
to order a cherry phosphate from the wondrous soda fountain. 

^eace^il. twneS^l, tuma/e/rU li/me^ 

T WAS A pretty little country 
town in 1911. Shade trees lined 

the streets, offering cool comfort on hot 

and lazy summer days. 

The player piano became popular and 
phonographs were all the rage. Ragtime 
music swept the country, with people sing- 
ing "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Ballin' 
the Jack," "Bugle Call Rag," "Lonesome 
Rag," and "Everybody's Doing It Now." 

Carmi young people took up a new 
dance craze, the fox trot, and they hum- 
med and sang "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" 
and "I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl." 
Sweet songs of the times were "Mother 
Machree," "Little Grey Home in the 
West," "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," 
"After You've Gone," and "The Sweet- 
heart of Sigma Chi." 

Although the population had fallen 
(to 2,833) for the first time since 1890, 
business was good and times were prosper- 

Into office as mayor in 1911 went 
Thomas H. Land, owner of farms, a grain 
business and a dealer in loans. Canni al- 
ready had elected descendants of pioneers 
as mayors. Dr. Elam L. Stewart, elected in 
1873, was a grandson of William Stewart 
who came here in 1816. 

Frank E. Hay, elected in 1885, was a 
son of Daniel Hay, who was one of the 
founders of the town. 

In the 1911 election the people chose 
the great-grandson of Robert Land, who 
came from South Carolina and settled on 
the Big Prairie in 1809, six years before 
White County was created. 

Mayor Land had married Ada C. Mel- 
rose, of Grayville, and their children were 
Matthew and Elizabeth (Mrs. J. Robert 
Smith) . 

In those serene years before World 
War I the railroad depot was one of the 
gathering places of the town. People 
thronged there to see who left and arrived 
on trains for St. Louis, Evansville and Chi- 

The 1913 flood caused widespread 
damage and townspeople crowded to the 
river front to watch the swirling waters. 


T w WAV pxfc*>uk»*' c^A'ictr- <i. af?ovt 
Boscoe co;«>!AN xiusti. »»!;«£» 

r«£DC. fu«f 

The manager of the telephone com- 
pany, John C. Stokes was elected mayor — 
and that was the year Carmi's Anti-Saloon 
League paraded down Main Street, flags 
flying and a band playing, to protest 
against the liquor traffic. 

Harking back to pioneer days, the 
town held a White County Centennial Cele- 
bration and Moose Carnival August 3-8, 
1914. The committee included T. W. Hay, 
president; Roscoe Cochran, Fred C. Punt- 
ney, Charles G. Brown, Hersel M. Archer, 
Harry White and William B. Hartwick. 

Postcards issued by Kelley Staiger 
honored early pioneers named Daniel Mc- 
Henry, Robert Land, Noah Kuykendall, 
Henry Jones and John Hanna. 

On Monday, June 21, soon after dawn, 
Mrs. Carson Hughes was in her yard on 
West Main Street close to the iron bridge. 
She heard a crashing noise, looked up and 
saw the west span of the bridge collapse 
and fall into the river. Miss Effie Gray 
(Mrs. Herbert Bruce) and Charlie Green 
had just crossed safely when the bridge 

News of the disaster spread fast. 
Small boats were assembled, then larger 
ones, to accommodate the public. Business 
men held conferences with county and city 
officials. A pontoon bridge was hurriedly 
built. By Oct. 6 a contract was awarded for 
a new span, which was dedicated August 
8, 1916. It was called the Rainbow Arch 
bridge, made of 88 tons of steel and 10,000 
bags of cement ! 

It was a time of peace and plenty, but 
Europe was at war and its influence was 
felt in Carmi. Farm prices rose and there 
was a demand for land, horses and mules. 
U. S. industries boomed. 

People started singing an English war 
song, "Tipperary," and President Woodrow 
Wilson was trying to keep America out of 
the war. 

All of a sudden, life changed. No long- 
er were people singing "Pretty Baby," 
"The Missouri Waltz," and "When You 
Wore a Tulip." America went to war. Men 
we~e drafted. Army camps opened. Now 
it was "Over There," "You're in the Army 
Now," "K-k-k-Katy," "Goodbye Broadway, 
Hello France," and "Hinkey Dinkey Parlez 

Mayor Frank Sibley, just elected, re- 
signed and left his medical practice to en- 
ter the army. Ralph Benson became mayor 
in his place. 

Land prices soared. Farmers worked 
day and night to raise food. Troop trains 
rolled away from the Carmi depot to the 
cheers and tears of friends and loved ones. 

Fighting the saloons in 1913 — flags waving and bands playing, 
the drys marched down Main Street April 15, 1913, in a protest 
against the liquor traffic Many children joined members of the 
Anti-Saloon League in the march. 

Carmi celebrating and i>aradiiig on Armistioe Day, November 
11, 1917. 

It was an era of glucose in place of 
sugar, Khaki and rolled puttees. Liberty 
loan drives and the disastrous influenza 

When it was all over, Carmi joined in 
nation-wide rejoicing. Early in the morn- 
ing of November 11, 1918, news came of 
the German surrender. 

A parade was organized. That after- 
noon Main Street was crowded. People 
cheered and sobbed with joy as they 
watched the decorated wagons and cars 
and marching throngs proceed down Main 

The happy, tuneful, turbulent, violent 
decade ended with Tom W. Hall, banker, 
taking over as mayor. 




HEY STILL call it "the Roaring 
Twenties," but the decade didn't 
start out that way. 

The war songs faded. People adjusted 
to peace ; had a yearning for "the good old 
days." After their sacrifices in Europe, 
Americans started singing "Let the Rest 
of the World Go By," and "There's a Long, 
Long Trail A-Winding Into the Land of 
My Dreams." 

In 1920 Carmi's population was the 
lowest since 1880, down to 2,667. Nobody 
worried because business was good. Dr. 
Sibley was mayor again and he was suc- 
ceeded by W. F. Elliott, auto dealer, and 
Fred J. Reinwald, feed and grain mer- 

People played Mah Jong, listened to 
radios with horn speakers, read headlines 
about the Ku Klux Klan and the death of 
President Harding. 

Suddenly, the "good old days" were 
only a memory. The jazz age dawned! 
CaiTni girls discarded ankle-length skirts 
and bunchy waists. The flapper appeared 
with bobbed hair, skirts to the knees and 
rolled silk hose. 

Stately waltzes and polkas gave way 
to the Charleston and Black Bottom. Ru- 
dolph Valentino was the Sheik; Colleen 
Moore played at the Main Theater in "Fla- 
ming Youth;" Bayleys sold Ford run- 
abouts for $265. 

Sweet, slow songs of 1920 were "Whis- 
pering," "My Little Margie," and "Tuck 
Me to Sleep in My Old 'Tucky Home." Now 
it was "Yes Sir, That's My Baby," "Dood- 
ley Doo," and "Jada." 

A Kiwanis Club was organized and 
Attorney Joe A. Pearce was the first pres- 
ident. Dr. Ray McCallister opened a dental 
office in Norris City before moving to 

The worst disaster of the decade came 
Wednesday, March 18, 1925, when a tor- 
nado roared across the county, killing 27 
and injuring 126. It destroyed 110 houses 
and took a damage toll of $750,000. 


That was the year 10,000 people came 
here to celebrate the opening of the hard 

The Strand Theater opened with Mae 
Murray playing in "The Merry Widow." 
Rebstock Brothers were selling the Star 
auto. Clara Bow was the "It" girl. Fire 
swept a block on Main Street. Talking pic- 
tures thrilled the country. 

Daredevil Olson sat on a flagpole high 
over Main Street. Phil Hanna presided 
over the hanging of Charlie Birger. Lou 
Emmerson defeated Len Small for Gover- 
nor. W. A. Ball opened his Main Street 
drug store. 

The Canni weekly newspapers mer- 
ged, with Roy Clippinger and C. S. Conger 
as partners. 

The new age with faster tempo 
wrought changes in town. With better 
roads and many, many more autos, the 
horse and buggy almost vanished. More 
farm people moved to town. The popula- 
tion started rising; reached 2,925 by the 
close of the decade. 

This picture was taken at 100th anniversary celebration of the Presbyterian Church, 1927. Front row, 
left to right: l>Irs. Ethel Bee, Miss Enid Lewis, Miss Rose Mary Bee and Mrs. Charles P. 
Berry; second row: Dr. Berry S. Crei)S, R. F. Hurley, Mrs. Charles Glbbs, Mrs. W. A. Bali, Miss Molly 
Stewart, Robert Finch and Ivan McCalilster; tliird row: William C. Smith, Lillie Campbell, Mrs. 
Frank C. Sibley, Mrs. W. G. Boyer and Charles Randolph; fourth row: William Ball, John M. 
Crebs, Zachary Boyer, Henry Lewis, Chauncey Stewart Conger and Joe Fleming Williams. Only six 
pictured here are still living: Rose Mary Bee, Enid Lewis Thuermer, Mrs. Charles Gibbs, Ivan McCal- 
Uster and Lillie Campl>ell Siliiman. 

In 1927 the Presbyterians celebrated 
their centennial. A pageant depicted the 
church's founding, with 21 in the cast. 
They were: Mrs. Roy E. Pearce, C. S. Con- 
ger, W. C. Smith, John M. Crebs, Mrs. W. 
A. Ball, Dr. B. S. Crebs, Joe F. Williams, 
R. F. Hurley, Z. T. Boyer, Ivan McCallister. 
Mrs. L. C. Berry, W. A, Ball, R. E. Finch, 
Mrs. Charles Gibbs, Mrs. Frank C. Sibley, 
Charles T. Randoph, Miss Lillie Campbell, 
Miss Mollie Stewart, Herbert Bayley and 
Mrs. W. G. Boyer. 

The "talkies" came to the Strand The- 
ater in "Broadway Melody." Dr. R, C. 
Brown moved here from Eldorado. 

Oh, it was a tuneful, colorful decade 
with such songs as "My Blue Heaven," 
"Girl of My Dreams," "Old Man River," 
"Stardust," "Tea for Two," "Only a Rose," 
"Valencia," and "Happy Days Are Here 

Do you remember? 

Ah, yes, and do you remember the om- 
inous signs as the 20's faded? The stock 
market crashed October 24, 1929, bringing 
a fearful panic that caused the depression 
of the 1930's. 


'ii/^n cou/n^u ^ow/n lo imctM cltu 

ISTORY never ends, but books 
do. This one is coming to a close. 

In the 36 years between 1930 and 1966 
Carmi changed from a country town to a 
small city. The population rose from 2,998 
to 6,200. 

Flappers and "sheiks" of the Roaring 
Twenties are grandparents now. They've 
told their children, now tell grandchildren, 
of the days gone by — when the New Har- 
mony bridge was dedicated in 1930 . . . 
jobless men walked the streets in depres- 
sion years . . . com fell to 13c a bushel . . . 
banks closed ... the WPA, PWA and CCC 
pumped money into the economy. 

Carmi's three banks reopened after 
a holiday; people played miniature golf, 
worked jigsaw puzzles, pushed for pro- 
gress under Mayors Fred J. Reinwald, Kel- 
ley P. Staiger, Jesse Grissom and Dr. 
George T. Proctor. 

They built two new schools and went 
through the decade singing "Night and 
Day," "Easter Parade," "Who's Afraid of 
the Big, Bad Wolf," "We're in the Money," 
"Love in Bloom," "Pennies from Heaven," 
"A-Tisket A-Tasket," "Beer Barrel Polka" 
and "God Bless America." 

Business was gradually improving in 
the late 30's when — boom ! 

Oil ! Who would have dreamed that a 
billion dollars in petroleum lay under 
White County? 

Excitement ran through Carmi like 
summer lightning. Strangers in western 
hats and high-heeled boots thronged the 
town. The courthouse and streets were 
crowded by lease hounds. Abstract offices 
and new restaurants opened. In 20 years 
6,000 producing wells were completed. 

In the midst of this excitement and 
prosperity. Pearl Harbor was bombed. 
America was at war again. 

For four years the casualty lists pour- 
ed in. There were war bond drives, scrap 
metal campaigns, rationing resti'ictions. 

Through the war years C. F. (Bud) 
Rebstock was mayor, and he was succeeded 
by A. J. (Gus) Brandt. 

Attorney General of Illinois 1949-195S 

In the midst of blood, sweat and tears, 
people sacrificed and sang "White Christ- 
mas," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home 
To," "Oh, What A Beautiful Morning," 
"Malrzy Doats," "Surrey With the Fringe 
on Top," "Cruising Down the River," and 
"Sioux City Sue." 

Hitler killed himself. Germany sur- 
rendered. Atomic bombs brought the Jap- 
anese to their knees. Then came the "cold 
war" instead of peace and it extended 
through war in Korea and Vietnam. 

Roy Clippinger was elected to Con- 
gress in 1945 and 1947. Harry Truman 
came to town campaigning in 1948 and 
Ivan A. Elliott, Sr. was elected Dlinois 
Attorney General. 

A modem bridge was built across the 
Little Wabash. A new municipal building 
was erected at Main and Main Cross 

J. Robert Randolph took over as 
mayor. He paved streets, enlarged the util- 
ity plants, watched Carmi's 1950 popula- 
tion of 5,522 rise to over 6,200 before the 
decade ended. 

Laurence E. Boehringer, a business 
man who. was skilled in municipal affairs 
after years on the City Council, was elect- 
ed mayor in 1964. 

The little log village of 1816 was only 
a memory. 

Ratcliff Inn — before and after! Dilapidated, decrepit, ill-treated and ugly, Ratcliff Inn was to be razed in 1960 and 
the property converted into a parking lot. The White County Historical Society raised enough money by public 
subscrfptSon to save the historic buUding where Lincoln lodged in 1840. The Society paid $15,000 for the property 
and spent $16,000 restoring the building. On the second floor is the White County Museum. Here members of the 
Society hoM their meetings. Two first floor offices are rented. When the property is debt free the entire building 
will be used for a museum. Restoring the inn put Carmi on the Lincoln Heritage Trail, and it is visited by many 

Caiml's official fla^, deslgTied by James William Henning, 

39th Mayor of Carml 

Three hundred students in a massed band opened Carmi's Sesquicentennlal February 26 with, a concert, playing for the first ttme 
"The Lincoln Heritage Trail," a concert march composed by Professor Paul W. Shahan, of Murray State University. 

Hail to the Queen and her court! It was style show and beauty time in Carmi March 5. Three clxapters of Beta 
Sigma Phi Sorority and the Home Culture Circle sponsored the event. Celebrating- the 150th birthdays of both 
UTilte Coiuity and Camu, all girls of the county were welcomed to compete in the beauty contest. Out-of-county 
judges selected these winners: Center, Miss Marcella Tate, Grayville, first; left, Judy King, Carmi, fourth; Shar- 
on Wilson, Grayville, second; rig^ht of Queen, Alice Morris, Norris City, third; Martha Morrillv Carmi, fifth. 

A Sesquicentennial triumph ! Just before the Easter season started the Sesquicentennial Chorus presented Handel's 
"Messiiah" to a capacity audience. The oratorio was directed by John W. Brown. Mrs. Ray McCallister was general 
chairman and Miss Dorothy Mann was co-chairman. 

See the dam in the Little Wabash? Close by, the cMy utilities pi a 
and l)eyond, a residential area of north Carmi. 

<' F. Rebstook's plane was about to cross South Church Street 
\\ hen he toolt this picture of downtowTi Camu. 

The railroad and U. S. 460 meet west of town, showing the plants 
of Sterling- Aluminum and Weeks 3Ianufactiiring Co. Beyond, the 
blue of Griffith Lake and a residential area. 

The high school and athletic fii-ld ilmniiiatt' lliis picture of a sec- 
tion of west Carmi. Lower right, College Boulevard of Montgomery 
Circles. Upper part shows many residences. 




(f % 



ui^e /S7'i 

1873 Dr. E. L. Stewart, doctor, drug- 
gfet, postmaster. 

1875 Ross Graham, attorney. 

1877 I^roy L. Staley, miller and gro- 

1879 Dr. ChrLstian Cook, physician. 

1881 Orlando Burrell, contractor, 

county judge nine years, sheriff 
four years. Congressman two 
years, mayor three more years. 

1883 George W. Wissinger, druggist. 

1885 Frank E. Hay, banker. 

1887 Dr. John M. Minick, physician. 

1889 Simon Grant, owner of brick 

1891 Simon Grant. 

1893 George D. Wheatcroft, owner of 

1895 Jasper Partridge, attorney. 

1897 George C. Ziegler, partner in 
barrel and stave factory. 

1899 Harvey H. Crozier, grain dealer. 






Orlando Burrell. 

Orlando Burrell. 

Orlando Burrell. 

F. M. Parish, attorney. 

Claude >1. Barnes, furniture deal- 
er, land owner. 

Thomas H. Land, grain dealer, 
farm owner. 

John C. Stokes, manager of tele- 
phone company. 

Dr. Frank Sibley, physician. 

Dr. Frank Sibley, who resigned 
to go to army. Vacancy fille<l on 
January 7, 1917, by Rallph Ben- 
son, who was in the milling busi- 

Tom W. Hall, banker. 
Dr. Frank Sibley. 
W. F. Elliott, auto dealer. 
W. F. Elliott. 

Fred J. Reinwald, poultry and 
feed dealler. 

1929 Fred J. Reinwald. 

1931 Kelly P. Staiger, photographer. 

1932 Je^se Grissom, poultry dealer, 
former sheriff, took over Febru- 
ar>- 23, 1932, after an election 

1933 Kelly P. Staiger. 
1935 KeUy P. Staiger. 

1937 Dr. George T. Proctor, dentist, 

1939 Dr. George T. Proctor. 

1941 C. F. >IBud) Rebstock, auto deal- 
er, oil and gasoline distributor. 

1945 C. F. (Bud) Rebstock. 

1919 A. J. Brandt, farm implement 

1953 A. J. Brandt. 

1957 J. Robert Randolph, engineer, 
auto dealer. 

1961 J. Robert Randolph. 

1965 Laurence C. Boehringer, semi-re- 
tired business man, auto sales- 


Senator John M. Robinson 

1831 ■ 1842 
Representative John M. Crebs 

1869 - 1873 
Representative James R. Williams 

1889 - 1895 and 1899 - 1905 
Representative Orlando Burrell 

1895 - 1897 
Representative Roy Clippinger 

1945 - 1949 


James Ratcliff 1816-1848 

Solomon Vories 1848-1852 

Reuben Emerson 1852-1856 

William P. Garrison 1856-1864 

George Williams 1864 

William Thomas 1864-1868 

Samuel H. Martin 1868-1873 

Orlando Burrell 18741882 

James R. WiUiams 1882-1886 

Benjamin S. Organ 1886-1890 

James C. Pearce 1890-1898 

John N. Wilson 1898-1906 

Thomas G. Parker 1906 1907 

Julius C. Kem 1908 

John A. Lopp 1909 

Julius C. Kem 1909-1914 

James M. Endicott 1914-1918 

Ulys Pyle 1918-1922 

James A. Walsh 19221926 

F. M. Parish 1926-1934 

C. S. Conger 1934-1942 

Charles T. Randolph 1942-1946 

Max Endicott 1946-1 964 

January 1, 1964 the County Judge 
became Associate Circuit Judge. 
Max Endicott 1964- 


James Ratcliff 1816-1848 

Solomon Vories 1848-1856 

J. B. Hinde - 1856-1868 

John D. Martin 1868-1872 

Thomas K. Wilson 18721876 

R. F. Stewart 1876-1879 

Frank L. Stewart 1880 

J. H. Shipley 1880-1881 

John D. Martin 1881-1888 

George R. WiUiams 1888-1896 

John E. Stewart 1896-1900 

Charles E. Hill 1900-1908 

William Poynton 19081916 

Otis Downen 1916-1920 

Newt Arbaugh 19201924 

Frank McGhee 1924-1940 

C. C. Morris 1940-1944 

MiUage Carter 1944-1960 

J. Gordon Dagley 1960-1964 

WiUiam Sharp 1964- 


R. S. Graham 1860-1863 

J. I. McClintock 1863-1869 

Ahart Harsha 1869-1873 

James I. McClintock 1877-1885 

Commodore White 1885-1891 

Thomas Fuller 18911895 

Everett McCallister 1895-1907 

Val W. Smith 1907-1914 

James Smith 1914-1915 

Charles Mossberger 1915-1919 

D. L. Bovd 1919-1923 

R. E. McKinnies 1923-1927 

Harry E. Puntney 1927-1939 

Hubert Sutton 1939-1951 

Walter L. Puckett 1951-1955 

Harry E. Puntney 1955-1959 

Richard Travis 1959- 


Thomas C. Brown 

John M. Robinson 

Edwin B. Webb 

Aaron Shaw 

Edwin Kitchell 

L. J. S. Turney 1851-1852 

James S. Robinson 1852-1860 

John M. Crebs 1860-1864 

Thomas S. Casey 1864-1868 

R. W. Townsend 1868-1872 

J. I. McClintock 1872-1876 

P. A. Pearce 1876-1884 

John W. Hon 1884-1888 

P. A. Pearce 1888-1892 

Francis M. Parish 1892-1896 

Isaac Spence 1896-1904 

William L. Martin 1908-1912 

C. S. Conger, Jr. 1912-1913 

Joe A. Pearce 19131920 

Charles T. Randolph 1920-1924 

Joe A. Pearce 1924-1928 

James M. Endicott 1928-1932 

H. C. McKinney 1932-1936 

Ivan A. Elliott 19361942 

Albert McCallister 1942-1948 

Kenneth Pearce 1948-1952 

William South 1952-1956 

Henry Lewis 1956- 


John Phipps 1835-1846 

Wm. S. Hay 1846-1847 

Heni-y P. Anderson 1847-1848 

Alex F. Trousdale 1848-1851 

R. S. Graham 1851-1860 


Daniel Hay 1816-1819 

Benjamin R. Smith 1819 

John McHenry 1819-1824 

James Higginson 1824-1828 

George McHenry 1828-1830 

David Philips . 18301832 

Nathaniel Blackford ., 1832-1834 

John McCoun _ _ 1834-1836 

Nathaniel Blackford 1836-1838 

Milton B. Gowdy 1838-1840 

William Little "- 1840-1 844 

James T. Ratcliff 18441849 

D. Hay 1849-1851 

Joseph Meador 1851-1853 

J. B. Byram 1853-1857 

J. S. Anderson 1857-1859 

Thomas J. Renshaw 1859 1863 

A. R. Logan 1863-1867 

Michael S. Brockett 1867-1869 

James B. Allen 1869-1871 

B. F. Logan ' 1871-1877 

James H. Shipley 1877-1878 

E. W. Gaston 1878-1882 

A. S. Harsha 1882-1886 

S.J.Wilson 18861890 

Thomas J. Mathews 18901894 

L. S. Blue - . . 1894-1898 

William A. Raglin 1898-1902 

George W. Clark 1902-1906 

John Wilson 1906-1910 

Jess Grissom 1910-1914 

Fred Puntnev 1914-1918 

Charles Frazier 1918-1924 

Edwin Soence 1924-1926 

W. W. WiUiams 1926-1930 

Edwin Spence 1930-1933 

Martin Ziegler 1933-1934 

Paul A. Ziegler 1934-1938 

W. L. Gowdy 1938-1942 

Baylus Hargrave 1942-1 946 

Roscoe Duckworth 1946-1950 

Walter Brown 1950-1954 

W. D. Morris 19541958 

Raymond Spence 1958-1962 

J. T. Gwaltnev 1962- 


Benjamin R. Smith 1816-1820 

Daniel Hay 1820-1824 

George B. Hargrave 1824-1830 

Hosea Pearce 18301840 

John Phipps 1840-1846 

John B. Blackford 1846-1848 

Abraham C. MiUer 1848-1850 

D. G. Hay 1850-1851 

George R. Logan 1851-1853 

WilUam S. Eubanks 1853-1856 

John G. PoweU 1856-1858 

T. W. Stone 1858-1860 

John G. Powell 1860-1862 

T. W. Stone 1862-1864 

Thomas J. Renshaw 18641866 

J. D. Martin 1866-1868 

D. P. Eubanks 1868-1870 

Hail Storms 1870-1874 

Thomas I. Porter 1874-1878 

D. P. Eubanks 1878-1880 

Leroy L. Staley 1880-1886 

Orlando Burrell 1886-1890 

Wyatt WiUiams 18901894 

John B. Hutchison 1894-1898 

Gene Ackman 1898-1902 

Joe Connery 1902-1906 

Jess Grissom 1906-1910 

Charles Frazier 1910-1914 

George Morgan 1914-1918 

Charles Gibbs 1918-1922 

Oscar PhiUips 19221 926 

Jess Grissom 1926-1930 

Charles Gibbs 1930-1934 

Chester Pyle 1934-1938 

Tommy Thomas 1938-1942 

Noel McCuUough 1942-1946 

Kenneth Cole 1946-1950 

J. D. (Bud) Griffith 1950-1954 

Kenneth Cole _ 19541958 

Norwood F. Proctor 1958-1962 

Charles Frazier -..1962- 


T. W. Stone 1850-1854 

T. R. McClelland 1854-1856 

Samuel Moore 1856-1860 

E. W. Gaston 1860-1862 

Wesley Hilliard 1862-1864 

M. M. Doyle 1864-1866 

Wesley HiUiard 1866-1874 

Gilbert Asbery 1874-1876 

Jonas J. Hon 1876-1878 

A. G. Foster 1878-1880 

William Truex 1880-1892 

Barnabas B. York 1892-1896 

R. A. Mayhew 1896-1900 

James A. Bo.yer 1900-1904 

George Staiger 1904-1906 

Pierre DeLain 1906-1908 

J. A. Boyer 19081920 

Clinton Staley 1920-1924 

J. A. Boyer 1924-1928 

Leroy Stein -. 1928-1932 

R. C. Brown 19321936 

Leroy Stein 1936-1942 

I. E. Turner - - 1942- 

W. O. Walker 1942-1944 

Herman Kittinger .- 19481956 

Milas Cozart 1956-1964 

Bernard York - . 1964- 


James Ratcliff 1816-1848 

Isaac MitcheU 18481851 

R. S. Graham _ .1851-1864 

John G. PoweU 1864-1870 

William H. Pearce 18701880 

John R. KuykendaU 1880-1890 

WilUam P. Tuley 1890-1899 

Edgar Brown 1899-1906 

Matthew Martin 1906-1926 

Clyde P. Stone 19261933 

Raymond Austin 1933-1942 

Charles B. Lamp 1942-1954 

John L. Whetstone 1954- 


When Ccfrmi's Bicentennial is celebrated in the year 2016, eyes will turn to this 
page of Cormi's Sesquicentennial book, "Glimpses Down the Decades." 

They will see the names of those who sponsored this book by paying $25 each 
to help defray the cost of publication. Because of their generosity no advertisements 
were necessary. 

In appreciation, the Cormi Sesquicentennial Commission dedicates this book 
to them. 

Ainsbrooke Corporation 

Mrs. Douglas J. Ames, Sr. 

Mr. and Mrs. Allen Ball 

Mrs. Lizzie Barnes 

Mr. and Mrs. Herbert G. Boyley 

Mr. and Mrs. Laurence C. Boehringer 

Dr. and Mrs. R. C. Brown 

Frances Land Calvert 

Carmi Furniture 

Cormi Nehi Bottling Company 

Carmi Times 

Mr. and Mrs. Otis Dill 

Mr. and Mrs. Ivan A. Elliott, Sr. 

Mr. and Mrs. Ivan A. Elliott, Jr. 

Elizabeth Crebs Evans 

Mr. and Mrs. Walter E. Finch 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Frazier 

Mr. and Mrs. Hugh K. Hale 

Mrs. John O. Hancock and Family 

Elizabeth Land Horrell 

Mr. and Mrs. Herman Kittinger 

Mr. and Mrs. Henry S. Land and Bill 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Land 

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lewis 

Flora Blasker Lichtman 

Mr. and Mrs. Albert W. McCallister 

Mr. and Mrs. Herman Pollard and Wayne 

Mrs. Helen Hanna Pearce 

Mr. and Mrs. Stewart A. Pearce 

The Frank E. Pomeroy Family 

Mr. and Mrs. James Madison Pomeroy 

M. Pauline Pomeroy 

Judge Ulys Pyle 

Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Rebstock 

Mildred Land Reinwald 

Elizabeth Land Smith 

Sterling Division of Federal-Mogul 

Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Stocke 

Ann Land Taylor 

Louise Land Twilla 

Two Tony's Smorgasbord 

East Main Street, Carmi 
Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Wallace 
Mr. and Mrs. Ivan White 
Williams Amusement Company 
Senator and Mrs. Paul A. Ziegler 



Carmi Township High School — 
White County Massed Band Festival, 
with 300 high school and junior high 
musicians from Grayville, Crossville, 
Norris City, Omaha, Enfield and 
Cormi. Premiere performance of the 
"Lincoln Heritage Trail" concert 
march composed for Carmi's Sesqui- 

ington School gymnasium — Style 
show with old and new fashions, 
sponsored by three chapters of Beta 
Sigma Phi Sorority and the Home 
Culture Circle; beauty contest to 
choose the Sesquicentennial Queen, 
Miss Marcella Tate, of Grayville. 


SUNDAY, MARCH 27, Washing- 
ton School gymnasium — Community 
presentation of "The Messiah" two 
weeks before Easter, with over 100 
voices and 15 members of the Evans- 
ville Philharmonic Orchestra. John 
W. Brown, director, Mrs. Ray McCal- 
lister, general chairman. Miss Doro- 
thy Mann, co-chairman. 

MAY 13-15 — Spring convention 
of the Illinois State Historical Society, 
with tours, receptions and banquets. 
Principal speaker, Chet Huntley, of 
NBC News. 


MONDAY, JULY 4— All-day cele- 
bration of old-fashioned Fourth of 
July at White County Fairgrounds. 
Sponsored by Carmi Civil Defense. 
Festivities and barbecue all day, 
with fireworks display at night. 

GUST 13 and 14— Old-time thresher- 
men's reunion at White County Fair- 

Special Sesquicentennial show at 
White County Fair, headlined by Jo 
Ann Castle of the Lawrence Welk 


BER 14 AND 15 — Fall festival with 
shows, tours, contests, climaxed by 
Kiwanis Corn Day and historical